Reporters and non-residents were barred by the Department of Jusice from attending two town hall meetings in Ferguson, Missouri Monday night.
According to The Huffington Post, the meetings were hosted by the DOJ's Community Relations Service weeks after the St. Louis suburb drew nightly protests following the shooting of 18-year-old Michel Brown.
A Ferguson protester argues with others who came to object to a proposed development in their subdivision during a meeting of the St. Louis County Council on Tuesday, Sept. 16, 2014. (AP Photo/St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Robert Cohen)
“It's their meeting,” Devin James, a spokesman for Ferguson, told The Huffington Post. “They’re calling the shots. So they have the authority to shut it down, keep it open, moderate it, whatever. It’s pretty much going to be on them whether they decide to — using your terminology — ban or whatever. We’re not enforcing that.”
The rule was enforced by Ferguson police officers, according to The Huffington Post, which noted that the city had specifically said local officials would not stop non-residents from attending. Moreover, the meetings were initially publicized to the media when announced.
The DOJ's ban reportedly resulted in a man being forced out of a meeting until he promised to stop recording.
Photographs taken from the event showed officers alsochecking the identification of individuals attending, The Huffington Post reported.
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